BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- As in all walks of life, titles on an NFL coaching staff can be misleading. The Bears officially hired Jeremy Bates as their 'quarterbacks coach' in early February, 2012, but the impression early in training camp is that the well-traveled assistant is going to do more than simply coach up Jay Cutler.
From all accounts, new Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice has been open to the idea of Bates installing a portion of the plays Bates used while a member of the Denver Broncos coaching staff. Which makes total sense, since Cutler and wide receiver Brandon Marshall both went to the 2008 Pro Bowl for the Broncos while playing in that system.
"Coach Tice is very flexible, as long as you explain it and it makes sense," Bates said. "I've been with [Jon] Gruden, I've been with Mike Heimerdinger, I've been with [Mike] Shanahan, so me personally, I've been around some great offensive coaches. I'm going to try and use some of their football plays.'
"An old coach once told me we really didn't create anything, it's a copycat league, and if you have the opportunity to deal with some of those guys you learn the inner workings of those concepts and protections. Where I went to school is under those guys and that's what I'm going to bring to the table. Coach Tice is going to bring his knowledge and so will the rest of the staff."
On the topic of 2008, it's been odd to hear Cutler and Marshall both downplay what they accomplished for the Broncos that season. Cutler went as far to say 'watching film from Denver it seemed like we were just running around at times, just going off the cuff', even though the quarterback and Marshall connected 104 times for 1,265 yards and six touchdowns.
"You hear the old cliche the game slows down; it has for those guys," Bates explained. "You can tell they've seen every coverage, that they've seen every look and that they understand what to do against press [coverage] and the blitzes. Now they just work on their craft. When you're a young player you got a lot going on. You can imagine; you've got formations, a new concept every day and you're kind of scrambling. But at the same time you have to still show confidence. Now once you've got it and understand the system and understand the league, you can be yourself and come to work every day knowing what you need to improve on and get better."